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Opinion Science The Fermi Paradox: The Scientific "Devil's Advocate" to "Are we alone in the universe?"

MegaZoneEX

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I had stumbled on 2 paradoxes: The Fermi Paradox and a Technology-Space Paradox.

The Fermi Paradox is summed up as a devil's advocate approach to the scientific question: "Are we alone in the universe?" declaring there is no intelligent life. It says, because the universe is old, there has to be an unquestionable and abundance of life out there. Giving that there is a high probability that a galaxy is harboring a solar system that is harboring a planet within the habitable zone of its local star (sun) (which there are many, in the trillions), then it is fair to say they there must be underdeveloped life (single cell, animals, plants).

On the contrary,

If intelligent life does/did exist, they would, by the probability of time and population, have a civilization(s) unimaginably older than our own. The paradox concludes that we are the only intelligent life simply because:

1. if a civilization had reached light-speed travel, we would have come across countless of their offspring every year of humanity. (Even if we wanted to avoid the astrological reason for "Hollywood's POV of Aliens"*** in that they intentionally don't visit us, we would still see their activity in-universe giving how far we can see in space.

2. If they didn't reach a tech like light speed, those civilizations would take the slow and steady approach and migrate (like an indigenous human did in the past) to every nearby planet, moon, and planetoid millions, billions, and trillions of years (keeping a record of their history) and thus we would still come across countless of offspring of those civilizations.

3.Their intelligence ended up killing their species.
---

***My counterargument towards "an intelligent life wouldn't need us / think of us as lesser beings / visited earth in secret" would be that our own fictitious and human narratives tell us intelligent life could come here for world-building, enslavement, migration, colonialism, military outpost and many more. In fact, I would argue these reasons would be equal to more abundant than what is now called Zoo Hypothesis, essentially we are self-inflicting thoughts on our own species as to why aliens wouldn't publicly visit us or only have done so to early man. Literally, we self identify as a victim, Galactical-ly


Or another way to put it is a "Civilization Prime", a society that is as old or close to the age of the universe itself. Their population would have expanded alongside the universe itself in every different direction.

Now multiply civilization Prime by the possibility of all the habitable zone planet evolving intelligence. We would still have been publicly visited at least once by an intelligent civilization that does only tourism or enslavement. Of course, Civilization Prime would have to have reached intelligence (space shuttle, living in space) to leave their home planet before intelligence kills them.

Based on us, leaving your home planet must not be hard in the universe, but maybe living on a new planet IN MASS is hard for many civilizations.
Also, a meteor killing all of the dinosaurs might have helped us a little in becoming the dominant species. That might be the missing link.

It's probably an infinite number of planets still in a prehistoric state


Which in a weird way confirms that dinosaurs might actually still exist.


------------------------
Technology-Space Paradox. basically says that technology will advance so much that the desire to travel into space will become lesser each generation.

When you add The Fermi Paradox to Technology-Space Paradox., the realization that there isn't any intelligent life in the universe, no old DUNE civilization, no known STAR TREK federation, and no STAR WARS space religion, there then is simply no point or need for anyone to have the desire if our own technology can and will produce it in movies and video games.
 
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Trogdor1123

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Fermi paradox never made sense to me, it's way too limited. Dark forest makes more sense to me.

In addition, radio waves are not nearly as distinct as the movies make it seem either. Unless crazy powerful they don't pierce the background.
 

Pagusas

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I have always been fond of the idea that life on earth was seeded, and the reason we haven’t met any other civilization is that they haven’t wanted to reveal themselves to us yet. Just because we don’t see them, doesn’t me they don’t see us.
 

Tschumi

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If intelligent life does/did exist, they would, by the probability of time and population, have a civilization(s) unimaginably older than our own.
I don't buy this premise. This theory must have been made during the mid-century golden age for sci fi novels in which everyone thought that any civilization out there is bound to be futuristic hyperbeings.

There is absolutely no reasonable cause to expect that any other civilizations out there in space would be older than us, more advanced than us, or anything like that. Like, I mean to say there's just as much chance they're in the Stone Ages, or they're in their equivalent of our monkey-phase, as there is that they're superdeveloped civilizations.

There's also no reasonable cause to expect that these other life forms have evolved in anything like the same way we have, with anything like the same objectives. Maybe they don't have a concept of expansion and development? Maybe they live on a planet of pink crystals, the solar powered secretions of which are all they need, so they've been sucking on shiny pink rocks for the last 100,000 years?

we have no way of knowing, so it is entirely on the side of the supposer to suppose that they're somehow our superiors, or equally interested in exploring the heavens, or using radio waves or the like...

If there's one thing that always makes me laugh, it's when people apply human characteristics to faraway, unknown beings, existing in one of an infinite spread of potential environmental conditions... I particularly love it when people say "what would you do if you saw an ant in your kitchen?" or whatever, at a stroke applying a dozen human characteristics to what is, for all we know, a pregnant cloud of static which seeks out metallic deposits in the asteroid belts surrounding its place of origination.

All the above is to say this: There is no doubt in my mind that other things exist in this universe, other things that are self powered and locomotive and produce amino acids or whatever it is that is required for have a designation of 'living', but any human who applies human philosophies to their social, developmental tragectories is, just, whack, to my mind.
 
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BigBooper

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Everything's undiscovered until it's not. Stick that in your peace pipe and smoke it.
 

Skyfox

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The awe and mystery of not knowing might be one of the sweetest experiences the universe has to offer.

We get to enjoy the sparkle and beauty of the cosmos without the business end.
 
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FunkMiller

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Fermi paradox completely fails to appreciate just how mind bogglingly huge the universe is. You could cheerfully have an advanced civilisation of trillions across the other side of the known universe, who have faster than light travel, and we’d still never know about them.
 

ClanOfNone

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Fermi paradox completely fails to appreciate just how mind bogglingly huge the universe is. You could cheerfully have an advanced civilisation of trillions across the other side of the known universe, who have faster than light travel, and we’d still never know about them.

For real. Some of the voids in the universe are millions of light years across, MILLIONS. Even at the speed of light it would take millions of years to cross.
We need space folding tech from Dune.
 

Coolwhhip

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For real. Some of the voids in the universe are millions of light years across, MILLIONS. Even at the speed of light it would take millions of years to cross.
We need space folding tech from Dune.

Yes but the universe is 13.000 million years old though, at least.
 

Thaedolus

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I don't buy this premise. This theory must have been made during the mid-century golden age for sci fi novels in which everyone thought that any civilization out there is bound to be futuristic hyperbeings.

There is absolutely no reasonable cause to expect that any other civilizations out there in space would be older than us, more advanced than us, or anything like that. Like, I mean to say there's just as much chance they're in the Stone Ages, or there in their equivalent of monkey-phase, as there is that they're superdeveloped civilizations.

There's also no reasonable cause to expect that these other life forms have evolved in naything like the same way we have, with anything like the same objectives. Maybe they don't have a concept of expansion and development? Maybe they live on a planet of pink crystals and their solar powered secretions are all they need, so they've been sucking on shiny pink rocks for the last 100,000 years?

we have no way of knowing, so it is entirely on the side of the supposer to suppose that they're somehow our superiors, or equally interseted in exploring the heavens, or using radio waves or the like...

If there's one thing that always makes me laugh, it's when people apply human characteristics to faraway, unknown beings, existing in one of an infinite spread of potential environmental conditions... I particularly love it when people say "what would you do if you saw an ant in your kitchen?" or whatever, at a stroke applying a dozen human characteristics to what is, for all we know, a pregnant cloud of static which seeks out metallic deposits in the asteroid belts surrounding its place of origination.

All the above is to say this: There is no doubt in my mind that other things exist in this universe, other things that are self powered and locomotive and produce amino acids or whatever it is that is required for have a designation of 'living', but any human who applies human philosophies to their social, developmentaly tragectories is, just, whack, to my mind.
I don’t think you’re wrong in that there’s no reason to think that other civilizations *must* be older than us, but considering that humans have only been around for a couple hundred thousand years and have, since learning to read and write, made huge technological advances…it stands to reason that a civilization that had a few million years head start on us (only a blink in the scale of the universe) would be immensely more advance. There’s nothing to say we couldn’t be the first, but it seems highly unlikely and that if life is abundant, then way more advanced stuff is likely too. So the question is: where is it?
 

Tschumi

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I don’t think you’re wrong in that there’s no reason to think that other civilizations *must* be older than us, but considering that humans have only been around for a couple hundred thousand years and have, since learning to read and write, made huge technological advances…it stands to reason that a civilization that had a few million years head start on us (only a blink in the scale of the universe) would be immensely more advance. There’s nothing to say we couldn’t be the first, but it seems highly unlikely and that if life is abundant, then way more advanced stuff is likely too. So the question is: where is it?
Thanks bro for ur take. Always hugely valued.

i just question the use of the word 'advanced', it's a human conception and i don't think it's a universal trait of civilization to 'advance'... i think advancement is bred by some kind of adversity, and i don't think adversity is a given. Maybe what we see as advancement - interstallar travel, telepathy, whathaveyou - never occured to them in all their billions of years, maybe for them advancement is the perfect asteroid parfait?

The Native Americans and Aboriginies of Australia were around virtually as long as Europeans (far longer in the person of the Australian Aboriginies possibly,, i wonder if Europeans were percolating 60,000 years ago?) are were just as warlike, and just as densely populated, what held them back from forging steel and developing firearms? Surely not resources, both nations are rich in the requisite minerals - maybe it was because their animism worked just as well for them? (-Edited in)

I also posit that any civilization that has lived that long must by implication overcome warlike motivations, and territorial landgrabs, otherwise their society would not have been sufficiently sustainable to exist so long. (-Edited in)

I also don't think time=advancement. Time=death if humanity is anything to go by - i guess the suggestion is any civilization that has survived long enough must have overcome these things (a core part of the Star Trek philosophy) - time can also mean stability. Unchanging, sustainable, stability.

i mean, of course, anybody can logically say that a planet of makdonaldz restaurants is somewhere out there, anyone can say that the enterprise is flying around somewhere with a bald captain called jean luq picard, i'm just saying that talking about 1970s space civilizations existing as a matter of innuendo, as a matter of implication, grinds mai gears...

Dogs are colourblind. Certain crustacean's eyes are just hollow tubes, Platypus are just way the hell outta here, and we all belong to the same set of environmental influences.

Anyway, look, anyone's allowed to suppose things, i'll never say that's not true, but yeah, i just have a thing with armchair thinkers trying to tell me that there's a space USA out there and a space Soviet Union. Because that's basically what the motivation for evil space empires was when most of these theories were being propounded.

i'll rephrase my conversation here a bit to get my point across:

"If there is life out there, there are even odds that it might take the form of machiavellian, nationalistic, militaristic space roombas. It's equally likely that they have none of our social constructs or conventions and they do not perceive the universe in anything remotely like our way. If indeed they 'perceive' at all as we understand the bio-process."

One final attempt: I just want people to acknowlege that these things are unknowable, and trying to paint the stars with interstallar empires is like trying to bend spoons with your mind. You just can't see the unknowable, unmoving, unyeilding spoons floating around alpha centauri from here.
 
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Kev Kev

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the idea that we are an anomaly so rare, and so nearly impossible, that its likely we are the only thing like us in the universe, is more believable to me than most theories ive heard.

everything is so perfect for us on earth because we have evolved to live on it, not the other way around. the earth and our solar system didnt cater to human needs. life on earth worked because of a specific set of circumstances so statistically improbable that we shouldnt be here at all. but the universe is massive, and there is bound to be that one, rare anomaly... and sure enough, here we are. the one anomalous exception.

so yeah, i believe it could be that we are absolutely the rarest thing in the universe, but we like to believe their must be more of us, because our ego's (ironically) try to tell us that our universe has orchestrated itself to cater to us (humans and other advanced life). but that is simply not the case.

at this point in my life, having been raised a christian, then went hardcore atheist, and now a chilled out agnostic, and pondering the fermi paradox, i believe the most likely explanation we have is that we are truly alone in the universe on this little blue dot

and i dont know if that is bleak or beautiful
 
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Tschumi

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the idea that we are an anomaly so rare, and so nearly impossible, that its likely we are the only thing like us in the universe, is more believable to me than most theories ive heard.

everything is so perfect for us on earth because we have evolved to live on it, not the other way around. the earth and our solar system didnt cater to human needs. life on earth worked because of a specific set of circumstances so statistically improbable that we shouldnt be here at all. but the universe is massive, and there is bound to be that one, rare anomaly... and sure enough, here we are. the one anomalous exception.

so yeah, i believe it could be that we are absolutely the rarest thing in the universe, but we like to believe their must be more of us, because our ego's (ironically) try to tell us that our universe has orchestrated itself to cater to us (humans and other advanced life). but that is simply not the case.

at this point in my life, having been raised a christian, then went hardcore atheist, and now a chilled out agnostic, and pondering the fermi paradox, i believe the most likely explanation we have is that we are truly alone in the universe on this little blue dot

and i dont know if that is bleak or beautiful
i think your logic is entirely intact, only it doesn't quite fit the scale of the universe... the number of 'goldilocks zone' planets they've found is growing annually... and then there's the drake equation, which basically states that even if you take all of these vanishingly fine factors into consideration there are still millions of viable planets out there...

I think we're absolutely a lovely and rare gem, but even if we were the rarest material in the universe there would still be a spoonful of 'us' elsewhere.

life is found kilometers below the surface of the earth living in lava chambers, to me it's the easiest thing in the galaxy to think extremophiles - at the very least - exist on some stinky crusty planet somewhere out there. i don't think there's anything dubious about that. it's about as dubious as figuring there's a river somewhere in india.
 
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Kev Kev

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i think your logic is entirely intact, only it doesn't quite fit the scale of the universe... the number of 'goldilocks zone' planets they've found is growing annually... and then there's the drake equation, which basically states that even if you take all of these vanishingly fine factors into consideration there are still millions of viable planets out there...

I think we're absolutely a lovely and rare gem, but even if we were the rarest material in the universe there would still be a spoonful of 'us' elsewhere.

life is found kilometers below the surface of the earth living in lava chambers, to me it's the easiest thing in the galaxy to think extremophiles - at the very least - exist on some stinky crusty planet somewhere out there. i don't think there's anything dubious about that. it's about as dubious as figuring there's a river somewhere in india.
yeah i kinda like to believe this too

agnostics like me are the worst lol. we cant make up our mind, or we just dont care enough to pick a side, so we just live in this state of wishy washyness :messenger_tears_of_joy:

i love to think about all the other potential advanced civilizations out there. maybe some of them are already space faring and have colonized their galaxy, and their lives are just like the movies and TV shows we've watched all our lives. how cool would that be
 
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jufonuk

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I have always been fond of the idea that life on earth was seeded, and the reason we haven’t met any other civilization is that they haven’t wanted to reveal themselves to us yet. Just because we don’t see them, doesn’t me they don’t see us.
We freak out and can barely tolerate if someone has different opinions or ideals to us. I’m sure we won’t be any different if we had other species to interact with. So going with that theory of course they wouldn’t want us to know about them.
 

Tschumi

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yeah i kinda like to believe this too

agnostics like me are the worst lol. we cant make up our mind, or we just dont care enough to pick a side, so we just live in this state of wishy washyness :messenger_tears_of_joy:

i love to think about all the other potential advanced civilizations out there. maybe some of them are already space faring and have colonized their galaxy, and their lives are just like the movies and TV shows we've watched all our lives. how cool would that be
i have a fear of labelling myself lol but i think i'm closer to agnostic than anything else, i mean, to me the realities of things are pretty clear, so i just, exist in this state of acceptance for what i see, and yeah it just tickles me when people try to swing 70s proxy-cold war sci-fi theories like they're the way of the universe~

(entirely seperate from what i just quipped about proxy-cold war, i do think it's entirely possible that, in the infinite vastness of the universe and dimensions there's every chance tv shows are happening, somewhere, as you say)

extra thought:
some scientist somewhere said that reality only seems intelligent because u don't see the failed attempts, just because a 300 slot slot machine came up all trumps once doesn't mean it didn't produce infinite dud pulls, right? i like that thought.. lot of people try to defend the 300 slot one-off, in one way or another~

ps. woot nice new pic
 
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Fbh

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I don't buy it.
The universe is just so mindbogglingly big that even if we were to discover and develop a lightspeed capable ship that never runs out of power and can host basically endless generations of humans on it today, like 90% of the universe would already be out of reach because it's relatively moving away from us faster than we can reach it, even at light speed. Add to it that we can only observe other planets and stars by looking at the light we get from them and much of what we are seeing is the state other galaxies were in hundreds of millions or even several billion years ago.

This video really puts it into perspective:
 

Pagusas

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I really wish we knew if FTL was even in the relm of possibility, or if it’s 100% an impossible thing to achieve. If it can’t be done, then contact with another civ really doesn’t matter.
 

Derekloffin

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There is a few things about the Fermi paradox that are kinda bad assumptions:
1. That we'd be able to 'hear' these alien civilizations. There really isn't good evidence for this. We're judging our ability to detect them almost completely on our modern understanding of transmissions which is already starting to show signs of going away. Broadcast transmissions are starting to give way to directed, which would enormously reduce the chance of detection. And of course, there is the matter of potential transmissions in a form we just don't understand. If FTL does exist, it is quite possible they would be using an FTL transmission which we'd have no ability to pick up on. Broadcasts may in fact be a very brief moment in a developing civilizations history, meaning any nearby transmissions may have already passed us by. Even if they are broadcasting in a way we could at least theoretically 'hear' it is possible transmission is low enough that it is rendered background noise by the time it reaches us.
2. So that leaves the 2nd thought which is would we have personally encountered them. A large amount of this already assumes we have FTL, but not necessarily. A sublight civilization could have spread far enough for us to encounter them, but here comes the matter of how worth while is it for such a civilization to actual deal with us? Without FTL they'd have to have essentially mastered living in deep space in which case being on a planet is rather pointless. Pretty much all the materials they could want could easily be harvested from non-livable planets or other stellar bodies making coming to an inhabited planet more a matter of curiosity than necessity, and potentially more trouble than it is worth. FTL civilizations might have more desire to seek out habitable planets but if we get into FTL, the requirements for such are likely pretty steep meaning our system might not even be very good for a colony. Plus in either case, we would very likely be in one particular civilization's territory and they could very well be treating us a nature preserve as it were.
 
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Airola

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Fermi paradox completely fails to appreciate just how mind bogglingly huge the universe is. You could cheerfully have an advanced civilisation of trillions across the other side of the known universe, who have faster than light travel, and we’d still never know about them.

So all the advanced civilizations are just far enough to have any of their life activity visible to us in any form. Sounds to me a bit too convenient.
 

Airola

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I don’t think you’re wrong in that there’s no reason to think that other civilizations *must* be older than us, but considering that humans have only been around for a couple hundred thousand years and have, since learning to read and write, made huge technological advances…it stands to reason that a civilization that had a few million years head start on us (only a blink in the scale of the universe) would be immensely more advance. There’s nothing to say we couldn’t be the first, but it seems highly unlikely and that if life is abundant, then way more advanced stuff is likely too. So the question is: where is it?

That all depends on whether that other life ever formed into something that thinks about space or even knows about space. I'm sure the dinosaurs here never thought anything about space. I'm sure we humans are the only creatures in this planet that have even had the thought of flying off this planet. For us it was a huge accident to ever develop into what we are now. The mass extinction of dinosaurs was needed. A certain type of brain was needed. Development of fingers and a thumbs was needed.

What are the odds that life on another planet would become into something that thinks about space and has the ability to do something about flying off that planet? Reptiles in this planet have been here for hundreds of millions of years and none of that life has gone anywhere near knowing that a concept of space even exists. Sure humans have been able to learn a lot since learning to read and write, but for us to ever even face the situation of learning to read, a hell of a lot more has had to happen before that. It's a miracle that we ever even got to learn the skill of reading and writing. Whetever concepts of travelling faster than light or bending time and space, and even concepts of time and space on their own, we have, what are the odds of some life in another planet ever coming up into thinking about those concepts?

For me the ultimate problem is that if that life from another planet has ever visited us, things in that distant part of universe have to be so advanced that it has spread far enough to be visible to us in some form. As we don't see any of that, the odds of anything ever visiting us is pretty much zero. And if nothing has visited us by now, I don't believe we can ever visit anything either - or at least anything advanced. I mean, if in with their supposedly hyper advanced stuff compared to us they haven't come here or left signs of their life in anywhere where we can now look at, our stuff will never get to be any more advanced than that. So basically the discussion about alien life ends up in the realization that even if there is life out there, they will never see us and we will never see them and we will be separated forever.

What I wrote obviously only means biological life that is formed through evolution. If the aliens are some dimension hopping energy based mind spirit things or whatever, then it's of course a different discussion, but I don't think that kind of life would be planet-based and planet-bound anyway.

Anyway, in other words:
If there is life out there that has even a theoretical potential to visit this planet here, there would need to be:
-Incredibly more sophisticated and complex technology than what we have
-Beings that are capable to build that technology
-Beings that are capable to think about building that technology
-Beings that have certain thoughts that make them feel the need to build that technology
-Beings that have interest in building that technology
-Beings that have interest to achieve whatever that technology would allow them to achieve
-Beings that have learned to build things that fly
-Beings that have learned to build things in general
etc etc

None of that is self-evident for life.

In order to have any of that, there would need to be:
-Evolution of brains that can form thought patterns needed for all of that
-Evolution of physical body in ways that bring the capability to build any of that
--What would a body need to be able to build things that are aerodynamically perfect for launching off planet and moving around in space? Is it possible to build a working spacecraft without for example having figured out how to make some sort of monitors and record some sort of video footage? I bet some kind of physical communication system is needed at some point in building and then flying a thing that goes into space. Can that kind of stuff be built without thumbs, for example? Can that kind of stuff even be imagined without first having arms that have formed into something that allows the body to build sophisticated technological things?

If we look at all types of life in this planet that is currently here and that has been here before, none of them have any of that abilities, except humans. What would be the odds that the life in that planet out there somewhere would have life that even remotely would get to form into things that have those features needed for any of that?

Maybe some life somewhere out there could be likely, but I think very advanced life somewhere out there is very unlikely, and I think any of that life then ending up visiting here is borderline impossible.
 

Cimarron

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Dark Forest is my bet. Or our tech is too primitive to detect advanced civilizations and we are too backward to contact.
 

Thaedolus

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That all depends on whether that other life ever formed into something that thinks about space or even knows about space. I'm sure the dinosaurs here never thought anything about space. I'm sure we humans are the only creatures in this planet that have even had the thought of flying off this planet. For us it was a huge accident to ever develop into what we are now. The mass extinction of dinosaurs was needed. A certain type of brain was needed. Development of fingers and a thumbs was needed.

What are the odds that life on another planet would become into something that thinks about space and has the ability to do something about flying off that planet? Reptiles in this planet have been here for hundreds of millions of years and none of that life has gone anywhere near knowing that a concept of space even exists. Sure humans have been able to learn a lot since learning to read and write, but for us to ever even face the situation of learning to read, a hell of a lot more has had to happen before that. It's a miracle that we ever even got to learn the skill of reading and writing. Whetever concepts of travelling faster than light or bending time and space, and even concepts of time and space on their own, we have, what are the odds of some life in another planet ever coming up into thinking about those concepts?

For me the ultimate problem is that if that life from another planet has ever visited us, things in that distant part of universe have to be so advanced that it has spread far enough to be visible to us in some form. As we don't see any of that, the odds of anything ever visiting us is pretty much zero. And if nothing has visited us by now, I don't believe we can ever visit anything either - or at least anything advanced. I mean, if in with their supposedly hyper advanced stuff compared to us they haven't come here or left signs of their life in anywhere where we can now look at, our stuff will never get to be any more advanced than that. So basically the discussion about alien life ends up in the realization that even if there is life out there, they will never see us and we will never see them and we will be separated forever.

What I wrote obviously only means biological life that is formed through evolution. If the aliens are some dimension hopping energy based mind spirit things or whatever, then it's of course a different discussion, but I don't think that kind of life would be planet-based and planet-bound anyway.

Anyway, in other words:
If there is life out there that has even a theoretical potential to visit this planet here, there would need to be:
-Incredibly more sophisticated and complex technology than what we have
-Beings that are capable to build that technology
-Beings that are capable to think about building that technology
-Beings that have certain thoughts that make them feel the need to build that technology
-Beings that have interest in building that technology
-Beings that have interest to achieve whatever that technology would allow them to achieve
-Beings that have learned to build things that fly
-Beings that have learned to build things in general
etc etc

None of that is self-evident for life.

In order to have any of that, there would need to be:
-Evolution of brains that can form thought patterns needed for all of that
-Evolution of physical body in ways that bring the capability to build any of that
--What would a body need to be able to build things that are aerodynamically perfect for launching off planet and moving around in space? Is it possible to build a working spacecraft without for example having figured out how to make some sort of monitors and record some sort of video footage? I bet some kind of physical communication system is needed at some point in building and then flying a thing that goes into space. Can that kind of stuff be built without thumbs, for example? Can that kind of stuff even be imagined without first having arms that have formed into something that allows the body to build sophisticated technological things?

If we look at all types of life in this planet that is currently here and that has been here before, none of them have any of that abilities, except humans. What would be the odds that the life in that planet out there somewhere would have life that even remotely would get to form into things that have those features needed for any of that?

Maybe some life somewhere out there could be likely, but I think very advanced life somewhere out there is very unlikely, and I think any of that life then ending up visiting here is borderline impossible.
This is all pretty much accounted for by the insanely huge number of stars within the insane number of galaxies in the universe. Yea, maybe all those factors combined are “rare,” but when your possible chances at rolling the dice are beyond our comprehension…not that rare
 

Airola

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This is all pretty much accounted for by the insanely huge number of stars within the insane number of galaxies in the universe. Yea, maybe all those factors combined are “rare,” but when your possible chances at rolling the dice are beyond our comprehension…not that rare

I think the amount of sides on that dice is what is beyond our comprehension, not the amount of throws we have.

I think the possibilities of life's evolution has incredibly much more different paths than what there are possible planets to have that life. There is finite amount of planets, and of those there is finite amount of planets that can have life, and of those there is finite amount of planets that could have life that is able to build a spacecraft. I would think the amount of possible twists and turns in how life forms is way higher than how many viable planets there are. Not only there are things that need to happen to have life end up anyway near what we are, but even in those planets there are also countless of things that can't happen for life like us to form. Not only does the dice have all possible advancements of life accounted for its sides but it also has to have sides for all possible situations of that life just dying before it gets to become anything bigger. Not only has that life be able to form in a certain way but it also has to avoid many different ways of the whole thing ending throughout the whole history of that life. The planet might need to avoid being hit by meteors, and sometimes the planet may have to be hit by a meteor at a certain time to a certain place for life like this to form.

So, to me the amount of sides in that dice is the one that really is what's beyond our comprehension.
 
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FunkMiller

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So all the advanced civilizations are just far enough to have any of their life activity visible to us in any form. Sounds to me a bit too convenient.

I don’t think you fully appreciate the actual size of the universe.
 
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Sakura

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The Fermi Paradox never made much sense to me. It operates under a lot of assumptions.
It assumes an alien civilization would be similar to humans.
It assumes that FTL is possible, and if it isn't then surely they would just slowly colonise all of space (why?).
It assumes that life existing and reaching a level of evolution like our own is not that rare. For all we know advanced lifeforms forming could require more than just an Earth like planet in the goldilocks zone. Maybe 99.9999% of those planets with life never make it past single celled organisms for example.
 

Alebrije

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Due the size of the universe if you want to.cross it even traveling at light speed would be like travel over a turtle to move from Paris to Moscow...would take eons...
 

Punished Miku

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Mihos

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I figure 1 of 2 things will happen, the speed of light is really the end of the road so we will never make contact or travel beyond our solar system, and neither will anyone else. Even if we blew up our own sun to purposely send a signal we are here, it would take 25000 years to reach even the center of our own Galaxy and probably written off as natural quirky phenomenon if it was even noticed at all.
Not to mention long distance communications would be targeted to a point, we are not going happen upon an alien transmission to a probe if the dish or laser signal isn't pointed right at us.

...or we will discover faster than light communications only to find other beings already using it already.... I like that idea best
 
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Even if we move at the speed of light, it would still take 2.5 million years to get to the next closest galaxy.
 

Melon Husk

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Fermi paradox completely fails to appreciate just how mind bogglingly huge the universe is. You could cheerfully have an advanced civilisation of trillions across the other side of the known universe, who have faster than light travel, and we’d still never know about them.
Exactly! The Fermi paradox boils down something much simpler: it doesn't matter how many advanced civilizations there are in the universe, because the universe is bigger, a lot bigger.

There is only a "paradox" if one assumes that advanced civilizations capable of space travel are motivated to spread every little rock they see in the sky. I don't understand why that would be the case. If FTL is not possible then it would fracture the species: communication would be impossible between distant colonies. We're not insects that spread uncontrollably. In fact Earth's population growth is already slowing down.

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I can't imagine humanity spreading beyond a couple of lightyears. Once you've seen a solar system or two, it will be just more of the same. More rocks. More ordinary matter. Of course we'll want to study as many distant solar systems as possible, but without some kind of warp technology, sending probes will make much more sense.
 
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Airola

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I don’t think you fully appreciate the actual size of the universe.

Exactly! The Fermi paradox boils down something much simpler: it doesn't matter how many advanced civilizations there are in the universe, because the universe is bigger, a lot bigger.

There is only a "paradox" if one assumes that advanced civilizations capable of space travel are motivated to spread every little rock they see in the sky. I don't understand why that would be the case. If FTL is not possible then it would fracture the species: communication would be impossible between distant colonies. We're not insects that spread uncontrollably. In fact Earth's population growth is already slowing down.

edit:
I can't imagine humanity spreading beyond a couple of lightyears. Once you've seen a solar system or two, it will be just more of the same. More rocks. More ordinary matter. Of course we'll want to study as many distant solar systems as possible, but without some kind of warp technology, sending probes will make much more sense.

Ok, let's assume the universe is SO BIG that even if there are advanced alien lifeforms out there, they are so far away that they can't ever contact us and we can never contact them.

Now what?
What can we do with that knowledge/assumption?

In the very least explaining Fermi Paradox away by the vastness of space and them being too far from us shows that this possible advanced alien life out there hasn't visited us.
I think the Fermi Paradox works in the context of alien life visiting us. Meaning, if they have visited us or are visiting us right now, why no proof of them can be found from outer space? So in that sense the reality of us having seen zero signs of advanced intelligent life in space, and even having seen zero signs of any form of life in outer space, at the very least makes Fermi Paradox applicable to the context of contact between us and them.

From that I see very little point in arguing whether advanced life exists somewhere else. Money and time used to try to find advanced alien life is essentially money completely wasted. If we can explain the Fermi Paradox away by saying the universe is just too big and they are just too far away, then why would we use any effort in trying to spot and contact them? On the other hand, if we actually have a theoretical chance to spot them somewhere, then the "far distance and vastness of space" explanation isn't really valid anymore. Then the question comes back to "why there's still no evidence of any life out there" and back to the Fermi Paradox.
 

Artoris

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The Fermi Paradox would make more sense if it had said there is no other life in the Milky Way galaxy, but to use the word universe makes no sense at all
 

Skyfox

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Earth is absolutely teeming with life of all sorts. It seems really weird to me that life would express such a crazy abundance of variations here and here only.
 
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Ballthyrm

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I think the best bet is that there is intelligent life in the universe (and it is exceedingly rare) but it doesn't last long enough to meet each other because space travel is too damn slow.
I think there was probably a lot of Aliens in our past, and there will be a lot of them in the future.

We just don't live at the same time in the same neighborhood.

I think there is a very good chance we find Alien life in my lifetime but it will microbes or unicellular.
More than probably a unique atmosphere seen by our telescopes than can only be explained by life.
 

Coolwhhip

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I think the best bet is that there is intelligent life in the universe (and it is exceedingly rare) but it doesn't last long enough to meet each other because space travel is too damn slow.
I think there was probably a lot of Aliens in our past, and there will be a lot of them in the future.

We just don't live at the same time in the same neighborhood.

I think there is a very good chance we find Alien life in my lifetime but it will microbes or unicellular.
More than probably a unique atmosphere seen by our telescopes than can only be explained by life.

Intelligent species would send computers/robots though and space travel is never too long for those.
 

Ballthyrm

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Intelligent species would send computers/robots though and space travel is never too long for those.

I'm not sure, Entropy is quite a powerful force and the distances are quite big.
We don't really know what's the maximum speed Nature would allow probes to travel.

There is still a good chance that the Von Neuman probes would fail after a while, not reaching another Intelligent life.

I've seen estimate of 2-3 civilization in a Galaxy at the same time.
The probes would have to spread pretty fast if say a Civilization only last 100000 years
 
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FullMetalx117

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On the speed of life front -

I think it’ll play out like Mass Effect or Interstellar. As in, we don’t necessarily “create” the tech that gives us the ability to travel across space - we “discover” it and to do that we need to at least explore our solar system. Also, I wouldn’t be shocked if the first aliens we discover are actually machines which aren’t bounded by biological parameters. Machines have that one distinct advantage biological beings can’t dream to compete with - time.
 
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Many in this thread need to be more aware of the fact that you can populate a galaxy with von Neumann probes in under half a million years at attainable speeds (1). Considering that we're late on the cosmic scene, this is a glaring oversight in why we don't see evidence for life within our light-cone. We should have seen colonization at the most and EM radiation at the least by now -- yet everywhere we look we see a dead universe. When you actually plug in the numbers and churn through the math properly as Anders Sandberg and Eric Drexler (of molecular nanotechnology/Foresight Institute fame) and collaborator did, it's unlikely there's life out there. (2)

(1) http://www.rfreitas.com/Astro/ComparisonReproNov1980.htm
(2) https://arxiv.org/pdf/1806.02404.pdf


Exactly! The Fermi paradox boils down something much simpler: it doesn't matter how many advanced civilizations there are in the universe, because the universe is bigger, a lot bigger.

There is only a "paradox" if one assumes that advanced civilizations capable of space travel are motivated to spread every little rock they see in the sky. I don't understand why that would be the case. If FTL is not possible then it would fracture the species: communication would be impossible between distant colonies. We're not insects that spread uncontrollably. In fact Earth's population growth is already slowing down.

edit:
I can't imagine humanity spreading beyond a couple of lightyears. Once you've seen a solar system or two, it will be just more of the same. More rocks. More ordinary matter. Of course we'll want to study as many distant solar systems as possible, but without some kind of warp technology, sending probes will make much more sense.

Two things:

First, it doesn't matter if the universe is infinite. If that was so then not only does life exist, but identical copies of us exist an infinite number of times in every small permutation out there just beyond our ability to see it. What matters is what's in our light-cone -- what we can communicate with -- and that, unfortunately, appears dead.

Second, communications among most species on this planet is exceedingly slow, yet that has not stopped the global spread of many forms of life on all scales. Robust topologies exist that are distributed in nature, centralization is not some invariant necessity. Much to the contrary, it is sort of unique for us in this period of our advancement and technological evolution.

And you expand on cosmic timescales not to get that next "rock" -- you need to harness the negentropy.
 
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I don't presume anyone really cares about my opinion on this, but as a fervent believer in the Fermi Paradox telling us we're alone as advanced intelligence in the observable universe, I must say the always brilliant Robin Hanson is starting to convince me otherwise with his Grabby Alien's model. The model is a little complicated, but there's a video on it that's well done. I'll link it below for anyone interested in this more recent serious modeling of what's out there and if we'll ever come into contact with it.

Youtube video explaining it (12min)

 
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kurisu_1974

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That's referring to going to a targeted star, I'm referring to the closest galaxy. The nearest star (Alpha Centauri) is 4.3 Lightyears away, to get there would take approximately 100 years going at 4.5% the speed of light.

Sorry I somehow thought you said star system. Not sure why we would start out by going to another galaxy tho.

First, it doesn't matter if the universe is infinite. If that was so then not only does life exist, but identical copies of us exist an infinite number of times in every small permutation out there just beyond our ability to see it. What matters is what's in our light-cone -- what we can communicate with -- and that, unfortunately, appears dead.

Endless does not need to mean that every possibility is present. It could be endlessly variable, and even then the chance of some events like the creation of the exact you happening can be infinitesimal.
 
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Sorry I somehow thought you said star system. Not sure why we would start out by going to another galaxy tho.
I was thinking more about beings from the other galaxy coming to us. It would just take too long and I'm sure every ship that needs to make the journey would degrade over time.